Home Your IT Mobility Over 10 million downloads of BBM – is this BlackBerry’s future?
Over 10 million downloads of BBM – is this BlackBerry’s future? Featured

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BlackBerry says that BBM was downloaded over 10 million times by Android and iPhone users in the first 24 hours it was available. At least one part of the company is doing well.

“It was one of the best single-day openings for any mobile app to date,” said Andrew Bocking, Executive Vice President, BBM at BlackBerry. BBM, formerly known as BlackBerry Messenger, is BlackBerry’s private social network, until now available only on BlackBerry devices.

“BBM quickly rose through the rankings on the App Store to be the number one free app in more than 75 countries in the first 24 hours, including the US, Canada, the UK, Indonesia and most of the Middle East.,” said Bocking. No mention of Australia.

“User ratings in both the App Store and Google Play are overwhelmingly positive, earning BBM 60,000 five-star reviews on Google Play from about 87,000 reviews.

“This has been an incredible launch for BBM across Android and iPhone devices. The mobile messaging market is full of opportunity for BBM. We intend to be the leading private social network for everyone who needs the immediate communication and collaboration of instant messaging combined with the privacy, control and reliability delivered through BBM.”

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Features of BBM include:

  • BBM Chat – Real-time conversations with users of Android, iPhone and BlackBerry smartphones. BBM indicates when a message has been delivered and read, and also shows when a contact is responding to a message. Features multi-person chats.
  • File sharing – Share files such as photos and voice notes.
  • Get in the Group – BBM Groups lets users invite up to 30 contacts to chat together, as well as share photo albums, calendars and files.
  • Post Updates and stay in the know – BBM lets people post a personal message, profile picture and a current status, and lets contacts see statuses instantly.
  • Unique PIN – Every BBM user has a unique PIN that maintains privacy, so users are not required to ever give out their phone number or email address to a new or casual contact.

Android and iPhone users will have access to BBM Voice and Video calling, as well as a new community building tool – BBM Channels – “in the near future.”

BBM has more than 60 million monthly active customers, with more than 51 million people using BBM an average of 90 minutes per day. BBM customers collectively send and receive more than 10 billion messages each day, nearly twice as many messages per user per day as compared to other mobile messaging apps. BlackBerry says almost half of BBM messages are read within 20 seconds of being received, “indicating how truly engaged BBM customers are.”

With BlackBerry for sale, as a whole or in parts, it is possible that BBM and its secure network may end up being the company’s crown jewels. There would be little problem in selling the hardware business and hanging on the the software and IP – that is exactky what Nokia has done with Microsoft.

The success of BBM on other platforms may be just what BlackBerry is looking for. It might end up being a networking and software company.

Just like Nokia. Maybe the two rumps should merge.

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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